Eyes to See: Recognizing God’s Common Grace in an Unsettled World

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Eyes to See: Recognizing God’s Common Grace in an Unsettled World


Tim Muehlhoff (foreword by J.P. Moreland)


InterVarsity Press


December 14, 2021




168 pages


Miracle stories are ever popular, and we are all taught that God is still there even if miracles don’t happen. But then, where is he? Tim Muehlhoff explains that the answer lies in the concept of common grace. Common grace declares that God extends a common blessing to everyone (saved and unsaved) and may work indirectly through natural things. It allows us to see God at work in more than just dramatic moments and approach life with gratitude.

Muehlhoff looks at key areas we can see common grace at work, including:

  • Science (where, even if God doesn’t answer prayer for an illness to be taken away, he provides modern medicine that makes it treatable)
  • Art (where people often find their sensibilities shaken up, ideas slipping past their intellectual defenses, which may open them to consider God exists)
  • Communication (with its capacity to deeply hurt or deeply heal)

He finishes the book with a chapter answering common objections, and some reflections on how understanding common grace has helped his spiritual journey.

Muehlhoff consistently chooses throughout this book to talk about common grace, without giving into cheap sensationalism. He highlights surprising advances in arts and science and suggests that we can see God in those moments, but doesn’t pretend we empirically can prove God was behind those breakthroughs. The key is not to do what some apologists do—to try and prove we can absolutely give clear proof of divinity in this case. The point is to awaken curiosity. Was God behind this? Is that a possibility?

He also brings a personal connection to the discussion about medical concerns which avoids some potential barbs. He tells stories about several friends who have cancer or other illnesses, who haven’t found miraculous healing but have found relief via treatment. He tells the story about his own struggle with migraines, watching friends get healed of migraines but not himself. He admits he could be angry, but seeks treatment, and recognizes that God may be trying to accomplish something by allowing his migraines to happen—like keeping him from taking on too many projects. He expresses true sorrow and empathy for people with illnesses. He avoids condescending answers (that understanding common grace makes the pain disappear, etc.). Rather, he shows that common grace provides the strength to carry on, to avoid despair.

This blend of humility and empathy proves refreshing because conversations about illness and healing often take a tasteless turn. As Christians with disabilities have become more vocal about their experiences in church, one of the sadder discoveries is how often discussions about healing hurt more than help. Bethany McKinney Fox’s Disability and the Way of Jesus observes that some disabled Christians avoid sermons on healing precisely because church congregants only treat them as valuable after they get healed, not for their current perspective. Amy Chen approaches the problem more directly in My Body is Not a Prayer Request. It’s good to celebrate miracles, but vital to avoid cheap sympathy that treats hurting people (from illnesses, conditions, etc.) like Hallmark cards. Muehlhoff uses his story and others’ stories to give a sober-minded but more inspiring answer: we don’t know why God heals some people right now and not others. We do know he is at work—sometimes indirectly through things that heal people the slow way, and perhaps using the indirect way to do other work in us (a soul-making theodicy, as philosophers put it).

A refreshing, well-written look at an underdiscussed subject.


Rating (1 to 5 stars):

Five stars

Suggested Audience:

Christians wondering about God’s apparent absence, or silence, amid the world’s suffering, seeking to understand how God may be working in subtle ways they haven’t noticed.

Christian Impact:

Muehlhoff carefully distinguishes what common grace is and isn’t, and avoids marketing tricks that these books often stumble into. For example, he doesn’t promise that talking about common grace is a technique that apologists can use to convert anyone to Christianity. He’s careful to say it’s a good conversation starter, something that opens the door.

He also respects his audience enough to give great examples. Some writers would gather the most sensational stories (usually ones covered in dozens of other books) and throw them together willy-nilly. Muehlhoff does his research and presents stories that his readers probably haven’t heard of, to get them thinking. For example, in talking about how art can shake up people’s sensibilities, he discusses Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit accomplished what his 600-plus book Being and Nothingness couldn’t do (get people who don’t read massive philosophical tomes thinking about philosophy). Every example that Muehlhoff gives is intriguing, and he includes all sources for his stories. Rigorous research may not be what people expect in a book about “God working in the world today,” a subject so often discussed in Christian gift books. However, the very fact that he does such great research makes this book so hard to put down and disregard.

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Note: J.P. Moreland observes in his foreword that this book, in some ways, is a companion to his recent book A Simple Guide to Experience Miracles. Readers can learn more about that book here:



Eyes to See: Recognizing God's Common Grace in an Unsettled World

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